Forget it: What is your right to be forgotten?

'The internet never forgets' is a common saying in the 21st century, and it's easy to see why. Search engines have become so good at trawling the internet to find the most relevant content that they can easily drag up results from years ago. Some of these results may contain old or irrelevant information, or they may even contain questionable information about you. However, the Court of Justice of the European Union has sanctioned a landmark ruling which states that people who do not like what they find on Google and other search engines can request for the article to be 'forgotten' and removed from the search results.

Who does it impact?

Because this ruling was made in a European court, only European citizens can request for search results to be removed. If a user finds a piece of information about them that they do not like on a European search domain, then they can apply to the search engine to have it removed from their index.

However, you should be aware that, if you get your result removed, it will still be available on non-European search domains. Furthermore, the article will not be permanently removed from the internet; it will just be removed from the search engine's index.

How is the decision made?

The search engines will usually have to decide whether the information in question is in the public interest. If it is, then it's unlikely that your request will be granted because it will be seen as trying to deprive the public of vital information.

However, each request will be judged on its merits by a team working on behalf of the search provider, and fines may be imposed if the company fails to remove the information after granting your request. For example, convicted criminals have used the service to request that articles detailing their crimes are taken down. Of course, the decision over whether the article gets removed or not will depend on the nature and severity of the crime and whether the public needs to know about the event.

Not all removal requests, however, contain defamatory information. The articles may just be irrelevant, old or excessive, and this is a legal test to try and work out whether a request to be forgotten will be granted.

There are no restrictions in place over who can request for data to be removed, but you should be aware that not all requests are granted. Again, it's trying to get the balance right between satisfying the public interest and giving people a right to privacy.

How do I send an application?

Because this ruling covers Europe, you should not be surprised to learn that Google and the other search engines receive thousands of requests every day. As a result, your application will be pushed into a queue until the team has the time to assess it. This delay means your article will stay online longer and could cause you more harm.

However, this will not be an issue if you contact the team here at Pinder Reaux. We have a strong relationship with Google - meaning we know what they look for in an application. We will also help you fill in the correct forms to ensure that your request is accepted at the first time of trying.

Google do not take kindly to repeated requests, so it's vital that your application right at the first attempt. Take advantage of our bespoke service by calling 0208-252-7373, and we'll ensure that your negative stories are finally removed.